Clothing is probably the toughest for anyone who wants to learn how to travelite. The two biggest tips to packing the right clothings, is to color coordinate, and to layer for a versatile look.
Remember the old "Garanimals" children's clothing where you matched tags to match your outfits? Make sure every single item you take matches with each other. This means you'll probably have to stick with neutrals--tans, greys, blacks, with some white or accent colors thrown in.
You can change your look with just a tie, a scarf or vest. Chico's, a chain of US women's clothing stores, says you have a month's wardrobe with nine items of clothing, which they do with the following combination:
They used to have a hand-out showing the 30 layering schemes, but I was recently contacted by a Chico's rep, who told me that they no longer provide this. Due to popular demand, I will try to put together a similar coordinating system instruction list at this web site in the coming months.
When I travel this way, I wear a the short-sleeve t-shirt under the overshirt, and a pair of long pants. I add the vest and blazer to it, then all I have to do is pack the long-sleeve jersey shirt, tank top, skirt and shorts in my bag. That's four items of clothing.
One of my favorite (and what I consider clevest) travel garment for women is the Infinite Dress. You may have seen it on TV in an infomercial hosted by former Three's Company star Jennilee Harrison. In the last few months, I learned that the original designer and patent-holder of the Infinite Dress has been embroiled in a very long court battle with the infomercial company over this product. According to the designer's lawsuit, the company used lower-quality fabric and put a stop payment on the check they had given her.
The great news is that Lydia Silvestry, the designer of the Infinite Dress, has finally introduced her own Web site. Better yet, you can buy your very own Infinite Dress directly from her Web site. And best of all, this method of direct purchasing means less overhead for Lydia, and more savings for you! If you order directly from her site, you get $10 off her dress.
You can go directly to Lydia's Web site at LydiaSilvestry.com.
For men, it's even easier. Two pairs of pants, one pair of shorts (that work as swim trunks), two t-shirts, two long-sleeve overshirts, and one blazer should be enough for most trips. If you are traveling to warmer climates, you may want to take t-shirts made from quick-drying fabric, such as Coolmax. Wear these under your overshirts, and they act as undershirts so you don't have to wash your clothing as often. If you are attending a conference and you want to wear take more than one blazer, make sure your second blazer that you pack is wrinkle-resistant, such as the one sold through TravelSmith. You can also get a very versatile look by packing one pair of nice blue jeans, since your jeans will go with anything (hint: Have your jeans dry cleaned and pressed before your trip. They will last a long time between washings this way, since jeans take up a lot of room and are tough to dry).
Most people suggest that you pack four days' worth of undergarments with you. I usually also try to include one jog bra in the bunch, although those planning on going to the beach may want to count a bikini bathing suit as one set of underwear. Socks tend to be tough to dry--again, visit your neighborhood athletic shoe store and purchase socks made of Coolmax. These are more expensive, but drip dry very quickly. Many of them are double-layered, to discourage blisters as well.
Save your holey socks and dingy underwear for your trip, and throw them away as you go! You'll have less washing to do. Same goes for old T-shirts, and even SHOES! If you are a regular jogger, save your older running shoes (which are still good for walking). You can throw them away at your trip and not have to carry them home (donate them at the city's Goodwill or church if your conscience bothers you). Also, if you're going on a shopping trip and you're planning on stocking up your wardrobe, take only those old clothes you plan to throw away. As you buy new clothing, you can wear them and have less to pack.
Next: Selecting Your Clothes